When I first read this headline, I was amazed, because there is no way that an adult gentile has kept kosher for his entire life (okay I suppose someone somewhere could find a Gentile that simply by accident or unique circumstance made it to adulthood without violating Kashrut).
So if you accept an organ, particular an organ that is essentially a filter for the poisons of human existence, from a person who has mixed milk and meat or who has eaten pork or shellfish, wouldn’t that be non-kosher?
Of course I opened the article, and read on. They were very specific to mention that it was a Reform Rabbi. I have had experience with mostly Reform Jews in my life, and they all kept Kosher, at least for holidays, and I never saw any of them eat pork or shellfish or meat with milk. I thought that Reform Jews simply didn’t violate basic laws in day to day life, and had two sets of dishes so that they could be completely pure for religious observances.
So I thought, hmmm, maybe that is a choice that a Reform Jew can make. How surprised was I when I googled “Reform Judaism Dietary Restrictions” – and came up with this excellent sermon. The original position of Reform Jews as long ago as 1885, was to oppose dietary law. The Reform synagogue even published a cook book with pork recipes (wow!) – and the Rabbi that wrote the sermon had Quiche Lorraine, with bacon, at the temple for his Bar Mitzvah.
To further surprise me, I find that (at least the position of this Rabbi) God actually would prefer that we be vegetarian. Having been a vegetarian for a while when I was younger, I actually have a hard time believing this – but, I plan to reread my bible and see how I interpret it for myself. The beauty of my faith is I don’t have to accept other people’s interpretations, I am open to find my own personal spiritual meaning in life and in God’s word. (Oh yeah and as a side note – this Rabbi spelled out God – rather than the usual G-d that you see in much Jewish writing).
Okay so back to my original question, when I read just the headline… would it be a violation of Jewish Dietary Laws to accept an organ from someone who has not kept Kosher, if you were for example a Hasidic Jew? And, are Orthodox Jews deeply offended by the idea of a Rabbi who has not kept Kosher?
I don’t know if I will find the answer… but it is a curious question.